Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: California
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

California Project

Prairie Creek Sub-Basin Life Cycle Monitoring Project, 2011

April 2011 - March 2014


Participating Agencies

  • California Department of Fish and Game

The Prairie Creek sub-basin of Redwood Creek supports self-sustaining populations of coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout in addition to occasional chum salmon. It was recognized as an excellent "field laboratory" for the study of andromous salmonids in California by the Coastal Watershed Planning and Assessment Program (Cannata et al. 2006). Studies of fisheries in the Prairie Creek sub-basin began in the late 1940's and extend to the present. Nearly continuous estimates of adult salmon returning to Prairie Creek have been made since 1990, while estimates of juvenile abundance and smolt production have been made each year since 1998. This project is a monitoring project and will not remediate limiting factors for salmonids. However, as anticipated by Recovery Strategy for California Coho Salmon (CDFG 2004), monitoring is necessary to track the performance of recovery efforts, to follow trends in population status and identify benchmarks for delisting. One element of the monitoring envisioned in California was the establishment of watersheds where the complete life cycle could be monitored. The Prairie Creek sub-basin of Redwood Creek offers the opportunity to establish such a life cycle monitoring program. First, the sub-basin supports self-sustaining populations of coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead and costal cutthroat trout. Second, historical data on sub-basin fisheries is available. Third, data gathered continuously over the past decade is of high quality and could be used immediately in a monitoring framework. Fourth, land use within the basin will not change since 98.2 percent of the sub-basin is in state or federal ownership. Last, the largest land holder, Redwood National Park, is committed to restoring watersheds and protecting fish populations.

Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Moore, T. A., 2014. Overwinter Survival and Redistribution of Juvenile Coho Salmon, (Oncorhynchus kisutch), in Prairie Creek, California. 69 pp. April 2014